Korean Fish Parcels

Cooking fish in a parcel ensures that all the flavours are trapped inside as the fish steams. The fish sits on a selection of vegetables placed in the centre of the parcel and in this recipe a Korean dip is spooned over the top. The Korean marinade that is spooned over the top traditionally has a chilli powder added to it called “gochugaru” which apart from having a name worth buying, really does add a unique and distinctive smoky taste. Presuming that this is not easily to hand, substitute a regular chilli powder or my own favoured brand, Deggi Mirch Kashmiri chilli powder, which is widely available in Asian markets. Banana leaves are available (fresh and frozen) in Asian markets and allow for a dramatic presentation though baking parchment is the best everyday option. The moment of opening the parcel is high drama for the senses.

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To prepare the Korean Fish Parcels

Preheat oven to 220˚C, 200˚C Fan, 425˚F, Gas 7.

To prepare the Korean marinade

Mix all the ingredients for the Korean marinade together and keep in a jar in the fridge. The marinade will hold refrigerated for a month.

To make the parcels

Halve the courgette lengthwise and then slice thinly crossways. Slice the onion as thinly as possible. Chop the spring onion into 1cm pieces. Slice the red pepper into thin strips. Slice the carrot into thin matchsticks. Chop the chillies into 3 or 4 pieces. Place all of the vegetables, including the lime, in a bowl and mix together. Season lightly with salt.

Fold a sheet of parchment paper in half and cut a semicircle approximately 18cm in radius. When the sheet is opened out, the circle will then be 36cm in diameter. Cut out four sheets and lay them all out on your counter top. Place the vegetable mixture on the lower half moon of each

Korean fish parcel cont.

semicircle. Dry the fish with kitchen paper and season very lightly with salt. Sit the fish on top of the vegetables. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of Korean marinade over the fish in each parcel. To seal, fold over the free half of the paper so both ends meet and fold the edges in twice to seal them, creasing them carefully as you go.

Place the parcels on a baking tray. They should not overlap. Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Check one parcel in advance of when you think it is ready so that it doesn’t overcook. Take into account that the fish will carry on cooking slightly after you remove it from the oven.

Serve immediately on hot plates. With a scissors, cut a slit down the centre of the parcel just as you go to serve it. You may eat the fish out of the paper to savour all the juices or tip the contents out onto the plate.

WRAPPING THE FISH IN A BANANA LEAF

For a dramatic Asian presentation, wrap the fish and accompanying ingredients in a banana leaf and close each one with wooden skewers or tie with cotton string.

If you wish to cook the fish parcels on the barbecue, soak the wooden skewers in advance. If the parcels are wrapped in two layers for the barbecue, the charred outer layer may be removed before serving, still leaving the inner banana leaf for presentation. It looks spectacular.

Ingredients

Serves 4

For the parcels

120g courgette

Half a small onion

4 spring onions

1 red pepper

60g carrot

1-2 green chillies

4 slices lime, cut in half

80g baby spinach

4 x 150g hake, cod, brill or turbot, skinned

¼ tsp black sesame seeds

For the Korean marinade

100g Kikkoman soy sauce

20g sugar

1 tbsp gochugaru or 1 tsp chilli powder

40g shallot, diced very finely

2 spring onions, sliced finely

2 tsp sesame seeds

40g water

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